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The Impact of Early Bilingualism on Face Recognition Processes

Abstract : Early linguistic experience has an impact on the way we decode audiovisual speech in face-to-face communication. The present study examined whether differences in visual speech decoding could be linked to a broader difference in face processing. To identify a phoneme we have to do an analysis of the speaker's face to focus on the relevant cues for speech decoding (e.g., locating the mouth with respect to the eyes). Face recognition processes were investigated through two classic effects in face recognition studies: the Other-Race Effect (ORE) and the Inversion Effect. Bilingual and monolingual participants did a face recognition task with Caucasian faces (own race), Chinese faces (other race), and cars that were presented in an Upright or Inverted position. The results revealed that monolinguals exhibited the classic ORE. Bilinguals did not. Overall, bilinguals were slower than monolinguals. These results suggest that bilinguals' face processing abilities differ from monolinguals'. Early exposure to more than one language may lead to a perceptual organization that goes beyond language processing and could extend to face analysis. We hypothesize that these differences could be due to the fact that bilinguals focus on different parts of the face than monolinguals, making them more efficient in other race face processing but slower. However, more studies using eye-tracking techniques are necessary to confirm this explanation.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, August 2, 2016 - 8:08:53 PM
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Sonia Kandel, Sabine Burfin, David Méary, Elisa Ruiz-Tada, Albert Costa, et al.. The Impact of Early Bilingualism on Face Recognition Processes. Frontiers in Psychology, Frontiers, 2016, ⟨10.3389/fpsyg.2016.01080⟩. ⟨hal-01351171⟩

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